From the Desk of Ronald B Saunders, President of the Dr Edna B McKenzie Branch of ASALH
“Slavery didn’t end in 1865. It just evolved.”
Bryan Stephenson, widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned.
The Thirteenth Amendment Exception Clause to the United States Constitution has fueled the largest robust prison population in the world which is disproportionately African American and Latino American.
The Exception Clause to the Thirteenth Amendment was intentionally inserted into said Constitution to satisfy the leftover remnants of the slavocracy class such as the cotton planters and other planters who had been devastated by their most significant profit loses. Thus we have been living with this gross intentional ambiguity in the language of the Thirteenth Amendment with the Exception Clause since 1865.
As we move forward in the 21st Century, we as a people and as a nation can ill afford to have this Exception Clause in said Constitution which is an embarrassment to our ancestors for their 246 years of hard harsh uncompensated labor.
Wherein the United States of America has the sole unique distinction of being the only country in the world that has legally enshrined slavery into its Constitution for the punishment of a crime with its ambiguous Exception Clause to the Thirteenth Amendment.
It will take a movement of the people to finally abolish slavery in the United States Constitution and in the various State Constitutions. This fall, voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will decide on state constitutional amendments prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, in some cases except for work by incarcerated people.
Three states-Colorado, Nebraska and Utah have approved similar ballot initiatives since 2018 which is great. About 20 State constitutions have exception clauses that allow either for slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for crime.
We need to break the back of the Prison-Industrial Complex by abolishing and eliminating all of the slavery loophole language in the United States Constitutions in the various State Constitutions. Both of the main political parties in this two party duopoly system take contributions from corporations who use prison labor.
This upcoming mid-term election is going to be one of the most important elections in history. The next Congress will shape polices for decades to come.
Upcoming Event: Elections Have Consequences
The Dr. Edna B. McKenzie Branch is most proud to Co-Sponsor an upcoming event with the Alpha Alpha Omega Chapter of AKA on October 13th at 7 PM at Carlow University in Pittsburgh PA.
More details to come…
I would like to thank Dr. Stephanie Boddie, Assistant Professor of Church and Community Ministries at Baylor University and Dr. Artie Travis, Vice President of Student Affairs, Frostburg State University in Frostburg Maryland for nominating our Branch for the Branch of the Year Award. I would like to thank all the executive officers and Branch members for making it possible for our Branch to be selected as Branch of the Year in ASALH for 2022. Your continued support and donations are most appreciated.
The work we do in all the Branches of ASALH is to honor the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson by providing rich programs of substance and content to keep alive the enduring most important work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the mission of ASALH.
The Branches of ASALH are a most significant part of the tree built by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Good roots bear good trees and good trees bear good fruit and Branches.
Ronald B. Saunders